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Friday, March 16th, 2012

Delocated Recap: "Friend"

Wow, it’s mentally exhausting just trying to remember everything that went down in last night’s Delocated.

“Friend” packed more plot and story into one 22-minute episode than most hour-long shows do over the course of three episodes. It began with “Jon” experiencing an existential crisis upon the realization that he doesn’t have any friends. TB, The Glaze, and David don’t count. What “Jon” does have, though, is cash — thanks to his late ex-wife’s life insurance money. Seizing on this, “Jon” decides to throw together a $1 million “Best Friend Challenge,” and invites New Yorkers to compete to be his best friend.

The competition consists of an American Idol-style talent show, and “Jon” eventually declares freestyle break dancer Ronnie to be the winner. But “Jon” sniffs out that Ronnie, like the other contestants, was only in it for the money and reneges. “Jon,” friendless again, is distraught.

Usually, a joke as solid as an absurd send-up of American Idol is enough to carry an entire episode of Delocated. But in this case, that entire story arc concludes within the show’s first five minutes.

Instead, the plot hinges on a parody of another pop cultural phenomenon: Facebook. It turns out that the groveling new Mirminsky henchman Mishka (played by an unmasked Jon Glaser, who also plays “Jon” — has your head exploded yet?) has been creating fake videos of “Jon” having sexual encounters with hoagies on the social networking site: journalface.net. “Jon” is not happy, as passersby constantly ridicule him as the “sandwich humper guy” when they see him in public.

During his moment of shame, though, “Jon” strikes up a conversation with Charlie, a wise old man he meets in a park with a penchant for jokes about his sexual shortcomings. Charlie seems to be modeled after Morgan Freeman, if Morgan Freeman described his performance in the bedroom as the “three pump hump.”

Again, this was a great thread that would normally be an A plot. You know, a skewed take on that well-worn story of your central character making an unlikely friendship and discovering something about himself as a result. But no, Glaser and his staff decided to write this episode almost like it was a challenge to see how much they could squeeze in and still make it coherent.

That brings us back to journalface.net. “Jon” receives a message from his high school prom date, Karen, who’s living in Philly and tells him she’s available if he needs someone to talk to.

Unable to resist even the remotest of possibilities of a visit to the Bone Zone, “Jon” takes a trip down to meet her. There he learns from Karen that what he thought was a “one-and-done” on prom night actually produced a child, and that child, now grown up, has her own child. Yes, “Jon” is a grandpa.

A ham like “Jon” relishes the idea of getting to do grandpa things like tell bad jokes and go out for ice cream, so he goes all in. He invites Karen and his granddaughter to stay with him in New York, and the miniature grandpa outfit he creates for his granddaughter — complete with cane and reading glasses — is another one of those hilarious sight gags that not many other shows can pull off.

Meanwhile, back to the journalface.net thing again, Sergei figures out a way to drive a wedge between “Jon” and Wang Cho by tricking Mishka into dressing up like “Jon” and murdering a Wang Cho underling. Sergie videotapes it all and puts in on the web. When the Wang Chos see it, they vow revenge.

Pretty significant plot development, but in this case, it was competing with 10 other storylines.

“Friend” ends with TB informing “Jon” that the whole grandpa thing was a con. Karen was just using “Jon” for money. It worked, because he wired her $1 million that he inherited from Charlie. Oh yeah, Charlie dies.

Karen, we learn, was a meth head.

And that’s why we love Delocated.